Title: Control (Shift #2)
Author: Kim Curran
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: 6th August 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Page Count: 352 (paperback)
Scott Tyler has a cushy job, a superpower, and a hot girlfriend. His life is set for the next few years, until entropy sets in and he loses his power to Shift. Unfortunately, someone is going around Shifting major events – changing Prime Ministers, killing the children of people in power, and then undoing their Shifts. Scott is the only one who can remember these other realities caused by others Shifting, and he needs to figure out how to stop it before it’s too late. Someone is screwing with reality for their own ends, and to stop it is exactly what Scott’s job is.
It’s not easy waking up every morning to find little Shifts have changed many things – that guy you used to work with changed his decision to go for a promotion several months ago and now you’ve never met him. Buildings change because someone altered their past decision and influenced the architect. But Scott can remember the old realities and is at risk of succumbing to ‘reality sickness’. Scott is also a powerful Shifter who can stop others from Shifting and force others to his will – a Fixer, they’re called. But when his power is lost, he needs to fix this screw up reality without his superpower.
Control was a great book. I didn’t have much time to dedicate to reading it so it took me some time to finish. I really enjoyed last year’s Shift, Kim Curran’s debut, and my very first ARC review on the Moonlight Library, and this sequel lifted the game and brought the higher stakes you’d want to read in a sequel. Scott starts out with a great job, an awesome superpower, and a lovely desirable girlfriend and ends up losing all three as his investigation into the mysterious Frank Anderson comes to a head. He has to make sacrifices and learn to trust old enemies. He comes to learn to trust himself as a young man and as a leader.
What I liked most about this book is that Curran isn’t afraid to knock Scott off his feet, beat him, and leave him for dead. Scott may be a physically impressive specimen with superpowers but he’s no Gary Stu – he’s a very normal teenager who needs to overcome his own insecurities before he can beat the bad guy. Although it was obvious to me as the reader exactly what was happening, and how Scott was being manipulated, it took him a little longer to figure it out. And that’s OK, because his head was such a mess that it took him time to get it together. Scott knows his strengths and weaknesses and knows his power gives him the upper hand – he doesn’t win every fight, and sometimes he needs help. I liked that about his character. The climax was super satisfying and totally awesome, and I although I saw it coming from a mile off it was still enjoyable.
While there was some awkward phrasing and stilted and forced dialogue, overall the writing was enjoyable, including several Britishisms that made it just at home. And that ending. That totally unexpected and wonderful cliffhanger… all I can say is the final book in this trilogy is going to be explosive and amazing and just wow. I can’t wait.
Thanks to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for providing this advanced reader copy for an honest review.